23 Feb. 1995|
Bren gun transit chest plans,multi ply birch plywood company limited,wood miter saw stand plans,lie nielsen plane sock - Review
The light machine gun concept proved its tactical worth during WWI and led Britain to develop the Bren gun. In the early 1920s, the Browning BAR was clearly superior among existing designs in the British search for a light machine gun, but the search continued for something better. While manufacture itself was complicated, the Bren was far easier to fieldstrip than the Hotchkiss and Lewis guns. The subject of this story is a Bren Mk Im made by John Inglis in 1943 and converted to semi-auto by Wise Lite Arms of Boyd, Texas. The Bren gun and spare barrel were shipped in a wooden transit chest with all the tools required for maintenance. While two men were usual in the Bren team, the gun was deployable by one man, who could pack extra mags in his web gear. As originally envisioned, one out of every four guns was issued with a 30-pound tripod made from hollow steel tubes for use as an emplaced gun for defensive operations in the role usually served by a heavy machine gun. Early Mk I tripods also had two arms stored in the hollow tubes to elevate the gun high enough for use as an anti-aircraft gun.
When fitted with the Mk I bipod, the Bren sling has two snap rings used to attach the sling to eyes in the butt and on the bipod. Shooting from the bipod off the concrete bench at the Washoe County Range was a little problematic since the bipod put the gun just a little too high. During the second range session, I placed a white Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-See target at 100 yards. Looking at your man firing the BREN from the hip – he’s going the right way towards burning his hands on the ejected cartridges!
It replaced the heavy, complicated Hotchkiss Portable and Lewis machine guns, which saw widespread use by the Allies. During the 1930 light machine gun trials, arms from around the world, including the Browning BAR, were tested. Those were the days when just about everything was made in such a fashion, and a little more than 83,000 square feet of the 220,700 square-foot John Inglis plant was dedicated to Bren manufacturing.
The assistant gunner had quite a load, carrying 12 mags in the steel can, at more than 32 pounds in one hand in addition to the spare barrel, tools and his rifle and kit. A canvas bag could be fitted underneath to catch empties from the bottom-ejecting Bren, a useful accessory when the Bren was mounted in the AA position or on a Bren Gun Carrier. The new design converts the gun to fire from a closed bolt rather than the original open bolt, and Wise Lite had their design approved by the ATF. As the gun became progressively dirtier, the gas nut could only be turned during barrel changes and a wrench was included in the tool wallet. These guns were fired with corrosively primed ammo, so it was important they be easily maintained. But they could be turned into semi-auto versions of the gun if the semi-auto design was incapable of accepting the full-auto parts. In addition, in accordance with current law, only 10 original parts enumerated on a list may be used, so Wise Lite made enough new parts to keep the gun in compliance.
I imagine the buttstock handle was thrown away the first time a gunner survived having it snag crossing wire or a fence, although the shoulder tab and bipod are useful. Zeroing the Bren for elevation was originally accomplished by changing the front sight height.
Later in the war, a 1-piece T-handled steel rod was included in the chest, yet the cord pull-through in the tool wallet was used in the field.
For transport, the tripod folded flat, had two rifle slings and could be carried by one man like a backpack. Wise Lite put in a new magazine follower and base plate in order to use other original parts. Carried by the handle, the muzzle is oriented slightly up rather than at the balance point of the gun.
For fun, I loaded the magazine with PCI ammo, raised the sights and fired at the gongs placed at 250 and 400 yards.
If you concentrate on holding the sight picture, the trigger is not unmanageable considering the gun with full magazine weighs 25 pounds, 11 ounces. Wise heads contracted with the firm of John Inglis in Canada to also manufacture Bren guns, and the firm quickly ramped up to produce Brens alongside other war material and heavy machinery. When they finally get through the 2,846 separate operations that are required to make a finished gun, the metal parts weigh 18 pounds. Brushes, mops, a short wooden rod and long 1-piece T-handle rod for cleaning the gas system and barrel stayed in the chest. Once oiled, it went back together far more easily, although the barrel had to be tapped into place.